Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Barker’

The Power of a Picture

The saying goes “a picture tells 1,000 words,” but what happens when those 1,000 are misleading, untrue and misinformed? This is the situation that was created, according to Snopes, when a Boston columnist and radio personality tweeted a picture of an Army veteran who is a double amputee and CrossFit athlete. Gerry Callahan, the columnist, implied in his tweet that the veteran was the runner up to Caitlyn Jenner who was named the winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award given by ESPN. Now, I am not going to take a stance on whether Jenner should have won the award or not or whether the veteran should have won the award or not, but this is prime example of how the Internet and social media have the power to spread information at lightning speed whether it is true or not.

The rumor spread so rapidly and elicited such negative responses that ESPN released a statement about the award and a spokesperson for ESPN said in an article with MTV there “no such thing as a runner up for the three major awards” (Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Pat Tillman Award for Service and the Jimmy V Perseverance Award). It is understandable that people are going to have opinions about Jenner winning the award — what do people not have an opinion about? — but the problem comes in when people start sharing information that isn’t true or misleading.

This can happen just as easily with a tweet or Facebook updated during a major event. A supposed witness shares something on social media, news organizations and journalists pick it up, and all of a sudden the majority of people are believing one thing happened when in reality the opposite occurred. It isn’t a new lesson that people need to be wary of information they read on the Internet, but it is definitely one people should be reminded of repeatedly because sharing wrong information will only continue.

This is one area where journalists can be a service to the public. They need to be the ones fact checking the information they are sharing and looking in to what people are sharing around them. Journalists should be the ones who are cracking the rumors and informing the public what is fact and what is speculation. As social media use increases and more people have access to the Internet throughout the world, journalists should be increasing their awareness of what is going on and doing their best to ensure people are informed on the facts instead of the rumors.

Taylor Barker, a member of the Ithaca College chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is the student representative for SPJ Digital. Barker is also an editorial intern for The Miss Information. You can follow her on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Dissecting the State of the News Media 2015

There is no denying the media landscape is shifting toward a mobile and digital focus, and on cue the Pew Research Center confirmed it. Last week Pew released the State of the News Media 2015, reaffirming the growth of mobile and digital journalism, while not reporting on the most promising data for legacy media. In the report’s 12th year, it has released some interesting information about digital audiences and advertising that journalism outlets should be paying attention to.

Out of the 50 websites Pew used for its report, 39 received the majority of their traffic from mobile devices opposed to desktop computers. This exemplifies the importance of news outlets marketing their product to users on mobile devices, whether it is through apps or social media — news organizations need to meet their audience where they are. The mobile traffic for these websites has been important for these news organizations, but the next step is turning these high numbers of mobile visitors into quality visitors who spend a significant amount of time on the website.

While mobile visitors are more prominent than desktop visitors, desktop visitors spend a significantly more time on the websites once they are there. Out of the same 50 websites, only 10 has mobile visitors spending more time on the websites than desktop visitors. This finding gives news organizations a tangible area in which they can research and improve in. Looking into where the activity difference stems from between mobile and desktop visitors is key in improving the quality of the visits. There may be room for mobile websites’ design to be improved to encourage visitors to spend more time on the websites or there may need to be content created that is more suitable for mobile audiences.

The growth of digital advertising is important because of the transition away from relying on revenue from print advertising. News organizations had previously relied heavily on print advertising to sustain their business model, but with the decrease in print sales the system is no longer sustainable. Pew reported that $50.7 billion was spent on digital advertising in 2014, which was a 18 an percent increase from 2013. This shows companies are further understanding the importance that digital traffic can play in generating revenue. The companies buying the ads are benefitting and the news organizations are benefitting from the increased revenue. Mobile has also been a focus of digital ad spending, increasing 78% from 2013 to $19 billion. Smartphones and tablets have become too prevalent for there not be specific focus shown to mobile sites. The high numbers of mobile visitors coincides with the ad spending.

These numbers exemplify that digital and mobile journalism is here to stay, and will most likely continue to expand in the coming years. The State of the News Media shows news organizations need to take the digital journalism realm seriously if they want to compete on a serious level. And beyond just taking the digital world seriously, the increasing mobile numbers show significant attention should be paid to this area in the coming years to benefit as much as possible from that audience.

Taylor Barker, a member of the Ithaca College chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is the student representative for SPJ Digital. Barker is also an editorial intern for The Miss InformationYou can follow her on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Introducing the new SPJ Digital executive

Elections for the SPJ Digital and SPJ Freelance communities concluded January 22, and results were announced Monday. Following appointments for positions including Editor, Programming (which was a position available for candidates but no declared candidates were available), the executive is as follows.

Chair and Net Worked blog managing editor: Alex Veeneman
Editor, Programming: Taylor Mirferendeski
Facebook Coordinator: Michelle Sandlin
Twitter Coordinator: Beth O’Malley
Google+ and LinkedIn Coordinator: Brandi Broxson

In addition, SPJ Digital is supported by two student representatives, Bethany Bella of Ohio University and Taylor Barker of Ithaca College in New York, both leaders in their respective SPJ chapters.

The executives’ terms begin Feb. 1 and expire at the conclusion of EIJ15. The student volunteers are independent of the election process and are appointed by the Chair.

Queries can be directed to Veeneman by email.


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